It wasn’t only a diverse panel of speakers we had, but also an excellent spread within the audience of 300 attendees. As Economic Development Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham said, “Digital isn’t a sector, it’s in all of our lives,” and so I was pleased to see representatives from across the sectors, including: finance, tourism, government and of course digital.
While the clue is in the title, ‘Annual Review’, we were keen to not just showcase what we had achieved, but to look forward to where we hope to be in a year, two years, or more. It was about showing what our small Island is capable of in a global digital landscape.
Apart from our world-leading connectivity and sandbox proposition, it is the relationships we are forging which will help us stand out. On that Cineworld stage, we had one of the founding fathers of Fintech; serial-entrepreneur, Nick Ogden, who has recently returned to Jersey to set up his new business more than 20 years after launching WorldPay here. With him was Dave Birch, the respected thought leader on digital identity and electronic transactions. They were followed by Dame Wendy Hall, the expert who wrote the UK Government’s Artificial Intelligence strategy and Kari Aina Eik, who leads the United Nations’ Smart Sustainable Cities programme. These are globally recognised leaders in their fields, who not only came and shared their knowledge, but have gone away to share their experience of Jersey and what we have to offer, with others.
Those leading experts were joined by cutting-edge entrepreneurs like Joel Mills, the CEO of AugementCity, a champion for data visualisation, who is putting together a digital twin of our Island; Alexis Wintour, who is working on some exciting plans around data foundations; and Gary Barnett, CTO of AirSensa, which is installing the world’s first jurisdiction-wide environmental monitoring network in Jersey.
As a small, agile and independent jurisdiction, we have the freedom to choose who we want to work with and align ourselves to the best. It is through these relationships that we will not only learn, but get ourselves on the map and tell the world what we are achieving here. While 300 people might have got a first-hand experience of our annual review, the messages they heard will carry much further afield.
I am immensely proud of my team for the work they have undertaken and for what we are planning this year. There will be challenges ahead, but reading the emails and hearing the words of support and positive feedback from people after the review, proves to me that Jersey is ready to not just face those challenges, but go out and grab the opportunities.